Holiday Romance Binge, Part 4: Contemporary Novellas and Short Stories

I wasn’t kidding about the “binge” thing.

Only one dud in this bunch, the rest will go on the re-read list next year. Or this weekend. Or maybe I’ll sneak out of the office potluck early.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A Christmas Carol by Michele GormanA Christmas Carol

  • Author(s): Michele Gorman
  • Publisher: Notting Hill Press, September 2013
  • Pages: 106
  • Source: Purchased ($2.99)

Another one set at a scenic-but-drafty estate (no, I cannot resist, don’t judge me), this time in Scotland, with a “Three Ghosts of Christmas Past” twist that worked surprisingly well. The heroine is a full-on smartass, more than a little spoiled and sometimes downright rude, but we get to watch her learn to appreciate her family and friends. In the end, she proves to herself that she’s worthy of the guy you were rooting for all along.

Grade: B+

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Ripped by Sarah MorganRipped

  • Author(s): Sarah Morgan
  • Publisher: Harlequin (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads), November 2013
  • Pages: 95
  • Source: NetGalley

Like everyone else in Romancelandia, I loved it. LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Smartass AND nerdy heroine plus an uptight Italian hero? The tension and chemistry just about killed me.

HOWEVER…the cover. The glare off those manscaped pecs is blinding. Italian heroes should have chest hair.

Grade: A

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

In the Clear by Tamara MorganIn the Clear

  • Author(s): Tamara Morgan
  • Publisher: Self-published, November 2013
  • Pages: 109
  • Source: Purchased

Again with the “adored it like everyone else” thing, which usually makes me cranky and ruins the fun. I wasn’t overly fond of the heroine being a klutz who needed to be rescued, but I loved how it got turned around and set up the hottest shower scene ever. My GOD, THE SHOWER SCENE (*~*swoon*~* <thud>).

Grade: A-

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

All I Want for Christmas by Ros ClarkeAll I Want for Christmas

  • Author(s): Ros Clarke
  • Publisher: Entangled, December 2013
  • Pages: 50
  • Source: Purchased

I loved Clarke’s Twelve Days short story for its utterly unsentimental view of a Grand Gesture Gone Wrong. This is one is mildly sentimental, but in the best possible way – it’s quietly lovely and grounded, showing off Clarke’s gift in revealing complex, completely believable characters in just a few pages. *~*happysigh*~*

Grade: A-

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Have Yourself a Curvy Little ChristmasHave Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas

  • Author(s): Sugar Jamison
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s, October 2013
  • Pages: 111
  • Source: NetGalley

From the title, you might think the saccharine level would be gag-level in this one, but you’d be wrong. I wound up buying the first book in the series just to find out what the wild-child heroine did that caused the family rift, and then I put the upcoming book on my wishlist.

Grade: B

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Miracle on I-40 by Curtiss Ann MatlockMiracle on I-40

  • Author(s): Curtiss Ann Matlock
  • Publisher: Belgrave House, November 2012 (first published 1999)
  • Pages: 140
  • Source: Purchased

A single-mom waitress hitches a ride with a grumpy trucker to visit her estranged family, and it WORKS. It even has a Santa Moment, and it STILL WORKS.

Grade: B

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Claustrophobic Christmas by Ellie MarvelClaustrophic Christmas

  • Author(s): Ellie Marvel
  • Publisher: Samhain, November 2011
  • Pages: 125
  • Source: Purchased

I read this for the first time last year, and I’ve read it approximately ten times. This is the ONLY m/f romance I’ve read that gets the mental illness thing right. And the sex-in-a-snowstorm – in the backseat of a truck on the interstate – is ridiculously hot AND hysterically funny. READ THIS. TRUST ME.

Grade: A

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A Perfect Holiday Fling by Farrah RochonA Perfect Holiday Fling

  • Author(s): Farrah Rochon
  • Publisher: Samhain, November 2011
  • Pages: 125
  • Source: Purchased (free on Amazon!)

It has all the usual back-home-to-small-town elements of a hundred other holiday romances, but this one works because of the characters and the chemistry. MY GOD, THE CHEMISTRY. Unf.

Grade: B+

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Holly & Ivey by Megan KellyHolly & Ivey

  • Author(s): Megan Kelly
  • Publisher: Self-published, December 2013
  • Pages: 155
  • Source: NetGalley

I saw the author had written a few Harlequin Blaze titles, so I was hoping for some sparks of chemistry, but no luck. I really wanted to like this childhood-friends-reunited story, but the lack of real tension makes it predictable and rather bland, with a lot of unnecessary small-town schmaltz that I found myself skimming through.

Grade: C

One thought on “Holiday Romance Binge, Part 4: Contemporary Novellas and Short Stories

  1. I love love love Claustrophobic Christmas, too! I read it the first time last year and re-read it already this year. Such a well done novella. I’m sad that this author doesn’t seem to have a big backlist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s